The NFL Draft has finished and with it there are now six former Seminoles newly-minted into pro ball. The number is higher than what many would expect considering the poor season FSU had, but the number also reinforces why 2017 left many fans wondering what was left on the gridiron.
Congrats are in order for Derwin James, Derrick Nandi, Rick Leonard, Josh Sweat, Ryan Izzo and Auden Tate. Here’s how each guy fits into the system in which they were drafted.
Loved this all 22 breakdown of Derwin James by Chargers DC Gus Bradley. Speaks to his versatility. pic.twitter.com/u1QaVwsUQJ
— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) April 28, 2018
James was drafted into a perfect scenario for him. Chargers’ Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley was one of the architects for that Seattle defense which went to Super Bowls.
Derwin is the perfect piece to help solidify a defense that has many talented young defenders. The league is definitely switching to where the new base defense is what used to be considered a nickel – five defensive backs; having a person in your secondary who can cover and is physical enough to make tackles has got to be a priority.
Derrick Nnadi, 75th Pick Chiefs
Nnadi was an underrated player on the Seminoles defense. He’s a quiet guy and very physical against the run.
At only 6-foot-1 he plays big and stout and isn’t as bad of a pass rusher as stats would lead you to believe. In the past two seasons he’s had 52 total pressures on the quarterback.
Nnadi has a tremendous work ethic and it showed at FSU pro day where he moved very well on drills.
Rick Leonard, 127th Pick Saints
One of the more ironic aspects about the last few seasons at FSU is how bad the offensive line has played, yet, the NFL stays looking at FSU to bring in new offensive lineman. Seven offensive lineman have been drafted out of FSU in the last eight seasons, many of whom were converted from defensive lineman.
Leonard has only played offensive line for two seasons so there is still some upside for the Saints. Many thought this was a reach, but he has time to develop as there is no real pressure for him to come in and start right away.
Josh Sweat, 130th Eagles
Sweat is one of the underclassmen who many Nole fans were hoping came back; his gamble was looking like it paid off as he had a great combine and pro day workout. His measurables, stats, and combine numbers probably should’ve warranted a higher draft number, but he couldn’t ask to be in a better place, career-wise, than Philadelphia.
The Eagles general manager seems to love Noles and he added another one who is really only needed in pass rush situations.
Questions about his knee durability late probably dropped his stock significantly.
Ryan Izzo, 250th Pick Patriots
He’s the second tight end drafted since 2015. Izzo is more of a blocker who has adequate hands, but Jimbo Fisher also didn’t ask for much out of him in the passing game. Having four different QBs throwing him the ball during his career at FSU also impeded his success.
He’s a quality third TE for Patriots
Auden Tate, 253rd Pick Bengals
Injuries and lack of explosiveness at the Combine really hurt the big wide receiver. He’s coming into a situation that’s already crowded. The Bengals lacked production at WR and Tate could help add to that, particularly in the red zone.
Unfortunately, he’s got an uphill battle, but at 6-foot-5 and 220-plus pounds, if he can prove to be an affective route runner, he can make folks pay.
I really thought that Matthew Thomas and Tavares McFadden would be drafted, but they, as well as many other former Noles, have landed undrafted free agent deals. Being drafted doesn’t mean you are a lock, but many of these Noles are drafted into situations that fit their skill sets.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/how-will-six-drafted-seminoles-fit-in-with-their-new-nfl-teams